02 Thursday July, 2015
Whether it be the scent of turmeric and cardamom slowly frying in ghee, or the sight of a bulky hessian sack in the bazaar topped with a precarious pyramid of precious saffron: India is all about food. Or, more precisely, about countless blends of exotic flavours that quickly captivated the taste buds of Europe centuries ago and has never ceased doing so.
The numerous regions and peoples of India each have their unique and distinct styles and flavours. However, the Maharashtrians in West India are particularly famed for their spiced vegetable and their dried and fresh seafood. As the state capital, historic colonial centre and a major port town, Mumbai has long been a melting pot of peoples and cuisines. As well as Maharashtrian, the city's countless restaurants offer Parsi and Gujarati dishes, European fine dining and everything inbetween. The glamour that the thriving Bollywood film industry brings to Mumbai ensures that there is no shortage of high-class dining options.
With this proud gastronomic diversity in mind, Ampersand has developed a new Mumbai excursion enabling people to sample some of the delicacies on offer. The day starts in a local home with a quintessential home-made breakfast. Here travellers will enjoy not just the hearty local fare but also the chance to interact with the family. Following this, we embark on a tour of Worli Fishing Village. Nestled in an area dotted by state-of-the art architectural wonders and towering sky- scrapers, Warli is an eight-hundred year old village and an essential part of the 7 villages that comprise the island city of Mumbai. It is also the settlement of the area's original inhabitants - the fishermen community.
Next is a walk through the spice Market in Lalbaugh. Visitors can see the different spices that go into making a perfect Indian Curry and learn about the origins of these spices. Observe how the whole spices bought by the customer are roasted in a big wok; crushed into a fine powder, depending on the customer's blend of choice. After the market comes a restaurant visit for a quintessential fish meal - intrinsic to the Kolis (the indigenous people of the seven islands of Bombay).
After a leisurely afternoon for rest and digestion, the excursion continues with a walk at Girgaon Chowpatty to experience and understand the street food culture of Mumbai. Street food is at the very heart of Mumbai's culture and has a strong social importance. There will be the opportunity to try everything from Pani Puris, Sev Puris and Ragda Pattice, to the famous Pav Bhaji - an totem of Mumbai's contribution to street food around the world. This walk along the beach walking on the beach allows a greater understanding of Mumbai's unique culture and how it's street food has evolved over time.
The tour ends, of course, with a sumptuous local meal at either Soam or Sardar Pav Bhaji where you can eat to your heart's content! There is also the option of an evening cooking class with a well-regarded chef. The workshop starts with an introduction to Indian food and ingredients before proceeding with a expertly led culinary workshop.
If you're in Mumbai and fancy a culinary detour to another renowned eastern cuisine, we strongly recommend a visit to The Golden Dragon at Taj Mahal Palace. Ampersand founder James declares their Dim Sum the best he's had anywhere in the world (despite having visited China)!
Get in touch to start planning your own tailor-made Mumbai experience:
+44 (0)20 7819 9770